The city council and mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, held discussions on Wednesday about the possibility of declaring racism a public health crisis in the city.
City officials met with Kendal Boyd, Chief Equity Officer, and T Gonzales, director of the Center for Health Equity, who jointly presented information and statistics about health, economic and social inequities experienced by communities of color, according to a city government press release.
Boyd and Gonzales recommended to the city council and mayor’s office that they declare racism a public health crisis given the numerous disparities populations of color experience.
This push to tackle the issue of racism through governmental effort comes as anti-police brutality protests rage across the country, and especially in Louisville, where medical technician Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police officers earlier this year.
Mayor Greg Fischer was open to their recommendation and concurred with their conclusions about the need to enact governmental change to tackle the issue of racism, according to a statement on the city’s website.
“Identifying and working to eliminate structural racism has been a priority for me and my team for over a decade, but there’s much more to be done. Now, as we see people in our streets and in streets across the nation demanding fundamental change, we must have a new sense of urgency to make this declaration and do the hard work of dismantling racism and creating real transformation. I look forward to partnering with Council on this work.”
We must have a new sense of urgency to make this declaration and do the hard work of dismantling racism and creating real transformation. I look forward to partnering with Council on this work of declaring racism as a public health emergency.https://t.co/XkiTnYg5EE
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) July 29, 2020
“Racism is bad for everyone’s health,” Gonzales said, according to the city’s press release. “We need significant and quick action to make sure everyone in Louisville has what they need to thrive.”
Boyd and Gonzales suggested that the mayor’s office write up a resolution for the city council’s consideration about declaring racism as a public health crisis, and then enacting an ordinance to begin working to improve public health in communities of color.
If the ordinance is enacted, Louisville would join cities in 19 different states that have declared racism as a public health crisis over the period of the last year, according to the American Public Health Association.
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